Deion Sanders and Jackson State University are being sued by organizers of Southern Heritage Classic, according to Action News 5, after the coach’s recent comments about the Tigers’ 2022 game in Memphis’ Liberty Bowl against Tennessee State.
The company that manages the Southern Heritage Classic filed suit against Jackson State and the Southwestern Athletic Conference after JSU said it wanted to sever ties and end the remaining two years on the contract for the game. The Southern Heritage Classic, featuring Jackson State and Tennessee State, has been played at the Liberty Bowl in Memphis. The current five-year agreement between the two schools will run through 2024.
Jackson State had said it would play TSU in the 2022 edition of the showcase, but intended to get out of the last two matchups between the schools.
“It’s a hustle,” Sanders said recently on the “Pardon My Take” podcast. “We’re losing money, tremendously. This particular classic that you’re talking about, first of all, why would two colleges need a promoter? You’re two colleges and you have A.D.s, why would you need a promoter, that’s No. 1.
“Secondly, I think the fee was like over 30 years, $6 million. That’s peanuts. So by the time you take seven buses for the band, four buses for the players, couple (buses) for people, assistants, hotel accommodations, food, you’re out of that. That $180-200 grand, you’re out of that. So you didn’t make nothing. You really came up there on a blank trip. We gotta stop that foolishness. The first thing we need to take care of as HBCUs is the business aspect of everything, and that’s something we’re changing right now. We’re taking care of business.”
Via football scoop:
“JSU had formally delivered notice to SMC Feb. 1 of this year to inform the Memphis-based company of its intention to end its participation in the rivalry contest that has, according to both parties, supplied millions in revenue through its history of pitting Jackson State against Tennessee State. JSU officials cited the SWAC as being the driving reason for its separation from the event.
“JSU’s governing athletic conference (SWAC) has entered into an agreement in which JSU’s (sic) will participate in events that conflict with the Southern Heritage Classic. Therefore, this correspondence shall serve as notice of JSU’s termination of its participation in the Southern Heritage Classic and the Agreement between the parties.” The letter was signed by Edward O. Watson, identified as General Counsel for JSU.”
Sanders has had a very eventful offseason that has featured him telling the world he had two toes amputated following complications from foot surgery. In February, Sanders revealed he has previously interviewed for several Power Five head-coaching jobs.
The annual classic between JSU and Tennessee State has been played 28 times, with Tennessee State leading the series 17-11.
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